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California's atmospheric river will bring Arizona rain later this week

The atmospheric river that is saturating California is headed toward metro Phoenix.

The National Weather Service has issued flood watches for northern Maricopa County, as well as parts of Yuma, Gila and La Paz counties. 

"The atmospheric river will shift to over our area and be the key driver of the precipitation that we see,"  National Weather Service Phoenix meteorologist Sean Benedict said.  

Tuesday through Wednesday, those areas could see anywhere between a half inch to an inch-and-a-half of rain.

"We’ll see rain moving over the Phoenix area Tuesday afternoon and then going into Tuesday overnight, continuing into Wednesday and then we’ll see perhaps some rain chances lingering Thursday and Friday as well," said National Weather Service Phoenix meteorologist Ted Whittock.

Snow is also expected in higher terrain.

National Weather Service forecast for Phoenix

Monday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 75. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph. At night, cloudy, with a low around 56. Calm wind becoming east around 5 mph after midnight.

Tuesday: Showers likely, mainly after 11 a.m. Cloudy, with a high near 68. Breezy, with a south wind 5 to 10 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible. At night, showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 11 p.m. Low around 51. Breezy, with a south wind 10 to 15 mph decreasing to 5 to 10 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Wednesday: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. High near 62. Breezy, with a south southwest wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms. At night, 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 47. Breezy, with a south wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Thursday: A 40% chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 60. Breezy, with a southeast wind 5 to 15 mph becoming west southwest in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph. At night, a 30% chance of showers, mainly before 11pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 45. East wind 5 to 10 mph.

Friday: A 20% chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 60. East wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west southwest in the afternoon. At night, a 20% chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 44. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming east northeast in the evening.

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Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.